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Switch to Forum Live View What were they like?
2 years ago  ::  May 22, 2012 - 10:15PM #1
Jupiter6208
Posts: 2,275
Just curious is there first person accounts of  what Bahá'u'lláh was like in person his demeanor personality etc.. and  `Abdu'l-Bahá for that matter.
"A person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person."  Dave Berry



You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger. Buddha.
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2 years ago  ::  May 23, 2012 - 4:31AM #2
Lilwabbit
Posts: 2,760

There are hundreds of first-person descriptions on both. But in the case of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá there are of course more numerous accounts, particularly those written by Westerners. As to Bahá'u'lláh's personality, not much is known except that he was known to be a very kindly, nature-loving and quiet child with an extraordinary intellect and innate knowledge. He was sensitive to suffering and reportedly was affected for weeks for reading a story of an execution of Jews carried out at the time of Muhammad. His care for the poor and the down-trodden is quite well-documented, so obviously there was a strong sense of empathy. His intelligence and innate knowledge was attested in numerous accounts, some of which were written by renowned Muslim scholars (not the least of which was the famed Islamic mujtahid -- religious judge -- Muhammad-Taqí from Takúr). His mother was reported to have said that her son Husayn-Ali amazed her for never waxing restless and for being ever calm and serene. The father was impressed by his intellect.


But for a more "objective" account, if you will, the renowned orientalist Professor Edward G. Browne of the University of Cambridge was the only Westerner to record his impressions of Bahá’u’lláh. He visited Him at Bahji in the year 1890 when Bahá’u’lláh was 73 years old (He died in 1892). and recorded his impressions as follows:


... my conductor paused for a moment while I removed my shoes. Then, with a quick movement of the hand, he withdrew, and, as I passed, replaced the curtain; and I found myself in a large apartment, along the upper end of which ran a low divan, while on the side opposite to the door were placed two or three chairs. Though I dimly suspected whither I was going and whom I was to behold (for no distinct intimation had been given to me), a second or two elapsed ere, with a throb of wonder and awe, I became definitely conscious that the room was not untenanted. In the corner where the divan met the wall sat a wondrous and venerable figure, crowned with a felt head-dress of the kind called ‘taj’ by dervishes (but of unusual height and make), round the base of which was wound a small white turban.  The face of him on whom I gazed I can never forget, though I cannot describe it. Those piercing eyes seemed to read one's very soul; power and authority sat on that ample brow; while the deep lines on the forehead and face implied an age which the jet-black hair and beard flowing down in indistinguishable luxuriance almost to the waist seemed to belie. No need to ask in whose presence I stood, as I bowed myself before one who is the object of a devotion and love which kings might envy and emperors sigh for in vain!


A mild dignified voice bade me be seated, and then continued: --  "Praise be to God that thou hast attained! ... Thou hast come to see a prisoner and an exile.... We desire but the good of the world and happiness of the nations; yet they deem us a stirrer up of strife and sedition worthy of bondage and banishment.... That all nations should become one in faith and all men as brothers; that the bonds of affection and unity between the sons of men should be strengthened; that diversity of religion should cease, and differences of race be annulled -- what harm is there in this? ... Yet so it shall be; these fruitless strifes, these ruinous wars shall pass away, and the `Most Great Peace' shall come.... Do not you in Europe need this also? Is not this that which Christ foretold? ... Yet do we see your kings and rulers lavishing their treasures more freely on means for the destruction of the human race than on that which would conduce to the happiness of mankind.... These strifes and this bloodshed and discord must cease, and all men be as one kindred and one family.... Let not a man glory in this, that he loves his country; let him rather glory in this, that he loves his kind...."


Such, so far as I can recall them, were the words which, besides many others, I heard from Beha. Let those who read them consider well with themselves whether such doctrines merit death and bonds, and whether the world is more likely gain or lose by their diffusion. --

"All things have I willed for you, and you too, for your own sake."
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2 years ago  ::  May 23, 2012 - 4:44AM #3
Lilwabbit
Posts: 2,760

As to 'Abdu’l-Bahá, there are so many descriptions written by Westerners (even American and European newspapers) during his later years that it may, indeed, be interesting for a change to read what the very same E.G. Browne wrote about 'Abdu'l-Bahá during the same visit in 1890 at which he met his Father. 'Abdu’l-Bahá was 46 years of age at the time:


I arose next morning (Tuesday, April 14th) after a most refreshing sleep, and was served with tea by the old man with the spectacles. Soon after this a sudden stir announced the arrival of fresh visitors, and a moment after my companion of the previous evening entered the room accompanied by two other persons, one of whom proved to be the Bábí agent from Beyrout, while the other, as I guessed from the first by the extraordinary deference shewn to him by all present, was none other than Behá's eldest son 'Abbás Efendí.


Seldom have I seen one whose appearance impressed me more. A tall strongly-built man holding himself straight as an arrow, with white turban and raiment, long black locks reaching almost to the shoulder, broad powerful forehead indicating a strong intellect combined with an unswerving will, eyes keen as a hawk's, and strongly-marked but pleasing features - such was my first impression of 'Abbás Efendí, "the master" (Áká) as he par excellence is called by the Bábís. Subsequent conversation with him served only to heighten the respect with which his appearance had from the first inspired me. One more eloquent of speech, more ready of argument, more apt of illustration, more intimately acquainted with the sacred books of the Jews, the Christians, and the Muhammadans, could, I should think, scarcely be found even amongst the eloquent, ready, and subtle race to which he belongs. These qualities, combined with a bearing at once majestic and genial, made me cease to wonder at the influence and esteem which he enjoyed even beyond the circle of his father's followers. About the greatness of this man and his power no one who had seen him could entertain a doubt.

"All things have I willed for you, and you too, for your own sake."
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2 years ago  ::  Jun 29, 2012 - 12:20AM #4
Kalzera
Posts: 258

There's a book published by an Oxford scholar working at Yale on the Bab (www.amazon.com/Resurrection-Renewal-Maki...) that, while not focusing on Bahá'u'lláh, mentions Him in passing, and gives one account of his personality.


During the Conference of Badasht, when Babi leaders meant to discuss the status of their Faith in 1848 in response to growing persecution, two major camps emerged: Tahira's, who was much more socially liberal and saw the Bab as being conservative to make his liberal reforms all the more shocking, and that of Quddus, the 18th Letter of Living who wanted to maintain the strict peitism and conservatism of the Babi movement.


While those two argued, a third camp also emerged: that of Bahá'u'lláh's, who wasn't at all concered with moving left or right, but wanted a unified agreement that respected all opinions. However, when Tahira threw off her viel, shocking the conservatives and radically proclaiming the socially liberal principles she held, her detractors responded negativley, which caused the unity of Bahá'u'lláh and Tahira's camps, and ultimatly brought the remainder of Quddus' under their wing.


Thus, regardless of what other character traits he might possess, he was known for proclaiming absolute social unity even before His own proclaimation in Ridván. He always wanted what was best for everyone, and thought working together was always the best solution. 

However men try to reach me, I return their love with my love; whatever path they may travel, it leads to me in the end - Bhagavad Gita 4:11

"Knowledge is a light which God casteth into the heart of whomsoever He willeth" - The Four Valleys; Hadith
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2 years ago  ::  Jul 02, 2012 - 8:35AM #5
in_my_opinion
Posts: 2,286

People who met the Master commented that He was always smiling, and that He had a wonderful sense of humor.

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2 years ago  ::  Jul 02, 2012 - 8:43AM #6
in_my_opinion
Posts: 2,286

The Blessed Beauty [Bahá’u’lláh] often remarked: "There are four qualities which I love to see manifested in people: first, enthusiasm and courage; second, a face wreathed in smiles and a radiant countenance; third, that they see with their own eyes and not through the eyes of others; fourth, the ability to carry a task once begun, through to its end."


~ Stories of Bahá'u'lláh, Furútan, `Alí-Akbar (editor), 1986

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2 years ago  ::  Jul 02, 2012 - 1:06PM #7
SeraphimR
Posts: 8,328

Jul 2, 2012 -- 8:35AM, in_my_opinion wrote:


People who met the Master commented that He was always smiling, and that He had a wonderful sense of humor.




Whereas Christ is never depicted as smiling."


"He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not."


BTW, have the Bahai's inherited the docetism of Islam, the belief that Christ did not suffer on the cross?




The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons.
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2 years ago  ::  Jul 02, 2012 - 1:38PM #8
Aka_me
Posts: 11,308

Jul 2, 2012 -- 1:06PM, SeraphimR wrote:


Jul 2, 2012 -- 8:35AM, in_my_opinion wrote:


People who met the Master commented that He was always smiling, and that He had a wonderful sense of humor.



Whereas Christ is never depicted as smiling."


"He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not."


BTW, have the Bahai's inherited the docetism of Islam, the belief that Christ did not suffer on the cross?



Jesus was never intended to be part of this discussion.


and Christ is simply a title, for which Baha'i believe applies to Baha'u'llah as well as Jesus.


I haven't seen any mention in the Baha'i writings as to Jesus' suffering on the cross.


the only reason I could surmise that Jesus did not suffer on the cross is due to what the Seven Valleys And Four Valleys describes as follows:


A lover feareth nothing and no harm can come nigh him: Thou seest him chill in the fire and dry in the sea.


A lover is he who is chill in hell fire; A knower is he who is dry in the sea. [Persian mystic poem.]

buzz buzz... that dizzy fly is wrong to even think he can be an annoying.
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2 years ago  ::  Jul 02, 2012 - 2:48PM #9
mytmouse57
Posts: 9,767

One would think the Manifestations probably all had a healthy sense of humor. 


After all, humor must be one of God's attributes.


I mean, consider the Platypus, for Pete's sake...

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2 years ago  ::  Jul 02, 2012 - 3:04PM #10
Jupiter6208
Posts: 2,275

Jul 2, 2012 -- 1:38PM, Aka_me wrote:


Jul 2, 2012 -- 1:06PM, SeraphimR wrote:


Jul 2, 2012 -- 8:35AM, in_my_opinion wrote:


People who met the Master commented that He was always smiling, and that He had a wonderful sense of humor.



Whereas Christ is never depicted as smiling."


"He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not."


BTW, have the Bahai's inherited the docetism of Islam, the belief that Christ did not suffer on the cross?



Jesus was never intended to be part of this discussion.


and Christ is simply a title, for which Baha'i believe applies to Baha'u'llah as well as Jesus.


I haven't seen any mention in the Baha'i writings as to Jesus' suffering on the cross.


the only reason I could surmise that Jesus did not suffer on the cross is due to what the Seven Valleys And Four Valleys describes as follows:


A lover feareth nothing and no harm can come nigh him: Thou seest him chill in the fire and dry in the sea.


A lover is he who is chill in hell fire; A knower is he who is dry in the sea. [Persian mystic poem.]




That's a pretty bold claim to make.


"A person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person."  Dave Berry



You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger. Buddha.
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